More than a year ago, I published a column anticipating the growth of terror in Europe; I named it ‘The Global Terror Virtual Country’ and suggested to create an anti-terror global country as a solution. I proposed Human Rights Literature to help us overcome the popularity of ISIS especially among young people in Europe and around the world. The events that have occurred since have proved that unfortunately terror in Europe is not a passing trend. To combat this appalling wave of terror striking Europe, the European countries must invest in long-term solutions. As Human Rights literature, and stray away from short-term solutions that may potentially cause inalterable devastation to western countries’ solid democracies.
In this essay, I will claim that Literature is one of the problems and the solutions for the popularity of terror, especially among young people. I will present and solve the reading habits paradox and will offer three examples to books that broke all reading predictions, sold millions of copies and changed the world for good and bad.
The single terror attacker (lone-wolf)
It is almost impossible to stop the single terror attacker as the non-organized small groups. The bigger the terror group will be the bigger odds they will make mistakes and allow intelligent the opportunities to follow them and catch them. The most established they would be, the more rationally they will start acting and rational mean also taking fewer risks. These can lead to better-organized attacks, but will also hold an opportunity for intelligent to discover it.
However, the single attacker most likely will act on his free will (influenced by various incitements). In many cases, he/ she has no criminal background and most likely will be a normative person with a strong religion belief driven by a very quick, irrational decision to operate a terror act.
Therefore, it is almost impossible to anticipate when and where he/she will act. The surprise effects hit terror victims and the authority together. As the location, which is another very important aspect, because this kind of terror reach into our own neighborhoods, houses, restaurants, concerts and more. It immediately raises our Anxiety. Once we understand that our home is no longer our fortress, we realize no one and nothing can protect us from this kind of terror.
The new anti-terror laws – short-term solutions
After the massacre in Charlie Hebdo, France approves a few anti-terror rules that allow the government to make, among others, Mass internet surveillance. Such as to tap phones and emails without seeking permission from a judge. In November 2014, France adopted another new law to reinforce its fight against terrorism. The law gave the authorities the option to prohibit French citizens suspected of planning to participate in terrorist activities abroad from leaving France for a period of six months, renewable for up to two years. France believed that by that, she would overcome the next round of terror. These are some example expressed the lack of stability democracy become in France and, they can prove that France did prepare herself to the next round of terror.
After November attacks stricken France, President Francois Hollande, Declare that “France is at war,” proposed again new anti-terror laws. Hollande urged lawmakers to approve a three-month extension of the nation’s state of emergency. New laws that would allow authorities to strip the citizenship from French-born terrorists and provisions making it easier to deport suspected terrorists. He also proposed adding 5,000 positions to the country’s national paramilitary police force and said he would not propose cuts in the nation’s defense spending until at least 2019.
As a result, The European Commission recommended recently a few new rules to prevent a repeat of the mass killings in Paris. Belgium’s Prime Minister, Charles Michel, called for constitutional changes. Michael suggested to extending detention time to 72 hours, up from the current 24, liberalize house search, and limit the ability of anyone to use mobile phones anonymously. He also wants to pass legislation that will allow the arrest of jihadi fighters returning from Syria and placing electronic bracelets on suspected terrorists.
That led to more, restricted policies of the Europeans countries toward the Syrians (and other) refugees, as well as to hate messages circulated on social Media, against refugees, especially after indicated by the media that at least one of the attacker in Paris, entered the country as a refugee.
Recently Belgium shut its capital from all activities after receiving a hot warning about two terrorists that are on the way to make a terror attack. The cities look like a huge army space and most citizens stayed in their houses feeling even more anxious. The state asked the citizen to avoid tweeting about the police action in the streets. Most people did not use their democratic freedom of expression and respected the state request uploading only photos of cats dressed in costumes. So far, terror did not hit Belgium but it already created its effect on her.
In Reaction France, extend the emergency laws to unknown period. The measures mean anyone suspected of posing a threat to security can be placed under house arrest for 12 hours a day to restrict their movement.
If terror’s aim is to create fear and chaos in the world and destroy democracy than France and the Europe are leading into this path. In order to control terror attacks, they create anti terrors laws. However, the same laws are threatening to destroy the country already shaken democracy and most likely will not prevent terror from existing.
As long as France will continue to change and narrow her democracy in order to control terror, she will most likely continue to be a target to terror, because that mean she is controlled by it and not the opposite. As long as attacks in France will continue to catch the world attention and deeply affect it, terror will most likely continue to strike her. If France will fall into the terror tramp, she will fail other countries with her.
Amnesty’s Europe director, John Dalhuisen, warns in the organization press release that the protection of the population from further imminent attack should be the number one priority.“But the emergency powers currently being rushed through parliament provide for a sweeping extension of executive powers at the expense of essential human rights safeguards.”
“It is reasonable to assume that further attacks are likely,” he said and conclude that the number of foreign fighters had doubled in the past year and that the while there were just 2,000 confirmed, the real figure was likely to be around 5,000.
Not only the virtual terror country is unstoppable, it even expanded over the last period, despite all anti-terror laws.
What happen to literature?
The publishing industry suffers from deep financial crises, especially in the last decade. If journalism were the watchdog of democracies, authors were the moral conscience – Both of them were always a target to terror and regimes but strong enough to face them. Both of them now struggling to exist and hardly stand in the front of the public debate to save democracy, considering the fact that all democracies alarms are already on. These are very disturbing examples how weak and frail the world democracy is, now days.
The new media do not have time for writers and authors. In order to grow, social media need us to be connected all the time. The way to reach out to more people is to feed us with an enormous information that change very quickly. Social networks do not have time for us to write long posts, that is why they limited us to 140 characters as tweeter did (and became very popular), they don’t want us to deeply think, to develop a critical approach, to rebel – against them. In order to avoid words, they invented shortcuts and emoji that become so popular in expressing our feelings and thoughts that the heart emoji elected to the most popular term of 2014! And the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji is Oxford dictionary word of the year 2015.
If it was not 🙁 it was 🙂 …
Did Social media took over literature?
A survey conducted by DJS Research for Booktrust of the reading habits of 1,500 adults, published in 2014, warn “Britain’s divided reading culture is a barrier to social mobility”. According to the survey, 27% of DEs never read books themselves, compared with 13% of ABs, while 62% of ABs read daily or weekly, compared with 42% of DEs. Overall, nearly a fifth of adults surveyed (18%) said they never read physical books at all. 56% said they believe the internet and computers will replace books in the next 20 years. This figure rises to 64% among 18 to 30-year-olds, said Booktrust to the guardian. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they preferred the internet, and social media, to reading books, with this proportion rising to 56% for 18 to 30-year-old respondents.
The study indicates “links between deprivation and not reading books”, said Booktrust, with those who never read living in more deprived areas, with a higher proportion of children living in poverty, and those who read less “more likely to be male, under 30, and have lower levels of qualifications, happiness, and satisfaction with their lives”.
These are also the targeted supporters of the terror virtual country…
The reading habits in the Arab world are even more disturbing:
According to the 2003 “Human Development Report” issued by UNESCO, Arab, reads in average far less than one book; it takes 80 people combined to complete one book in a year.
The 2011 Report on Cultural Development issued by the Arab Thought Foundation stated that Arabs read for an average of six minutes per year, while Europeans read 200 hours annually.
“If we adopt the minimum average time that youth is on the Internet, that gives us 365 hours a year, and if we compare that with the average time an individual Arab spends reading, which is six minutes a year, then the difference between the two becomes clear, and the importance of the Internet in youths’ lives becomes apparent”. Claimed in a report released by the Arab Foundation’s Fikr.
If we deeply examine the France attacker profile then we will notice a few common aspects:
They are all first or second generation of immigrant, from Muslims houses, young (less than 30), coming from a low social economic houses and or in a financial crises, they born to a non-equal reality and find comfort in the words of terror that first restrict their religion beliefs into fundamentalism. They are caught in a circle of despair when they first find comfort and understanding toward their status. ISIS magazine, video games and video clips – propaganda spreads through the social media and offers them solutions to common things that disturbing them.
If they are looking for love-they will gain 700 virgins in heaven; if they are looking for respect – they will become Shahids and the entire terror community will praise them; if they are looking to be heard or be famous -they will be very famous after conducting attack; if they are looking for a justified cause – they are helping a very urgent cause – to save and glory the Islam.
The Power of Literature
Literature has tremendous power. This power is different from other types of art or writing genres such as documentation or journalism. Stories can create deep, impact on the reader, impact, that makes the reader emotionally involved, where deeper, level of understanding is established and motivation for action is generated. Novel Rights has identified this power of literature, and thus developed and promotes the concept of Human Rights Literature. A few example from History provides us a glance how powerful literature can be and what happen when it reaches the wrong hands.
Indignez-vous! (Time for Outrage!)
The French diplomat, member, of the French Resistance and concentration camp survivor Stéphane Hessel, Published in France in 2010, The bestselling book Indignez-vous! (Time for Outrage!) The 37 pages book sold nearly 1.5 million copies in France alone and 30 million in total. It has been translated into 30 languages and inspired protests like “Occupy” in the United States and The Indignados in Spain. (Spanish protests against corruption).
In his book, Hessel (then, 92 years old) calls on the young, many of whom have already marched through the streets with their inchoate fury at President Nicolas Sarkozy’s “reforms.” They resent the balance Sarkozy is achieving between benefiting the banks while depriving the unemployed, the old, students, immigrants and the poor. Hessel’s call for a renewal of the spirit of the Resistance, albeit a pacific one, resonates in French traditions that immigrants embrace. He believed It will do the same for youth in Britain and the United States, whom Hessel called upon to remember their history and to defend its highest achievements.
Hessel, provoked the youth to rebel against economic injustice, His book that was a best-seller in France most likely raised the feelings of rage among young immigrants. Hessel was hoping they will lead, (as In Spain and the US) to a nonviolent revolution and offered them hope instead of rage. Nevertheless, he did not gain the support of his fellow intellectuals in France that criticized his writing skills; prohibit him to lecture at Universities and blaming him for being anti-semitic for dedicating part of his essay to the situation in Gaza from a critic point of view. Hessel died a few years back at the age of 96, some claim that his youth revolution still in process.
During the 30′ after the Nazi, party won the election they wanted to control the public opinion and to engage them to their ideology. Through the Nazi Propaganda Ministry, they took control of all forms of communication in Germany: newspapers, magazines, books, public meetings, and rallies, art, music, movies, and radio. Viewpoints in any way threatening to Nazi beliefs or to the regime were censored or eliminated from all media.
Hitler published his book “Mein Kampf” in Mid. 20th, the book as not successful and sold very little. After Hitler rose to power, the book gained a large amount of popularity. Hitler had made about 1.2 million Reichsmarks from the income of his book in 1933.
During Hitler’s years in power, the book was given free to every newlywed couple and every soldier fighting at the front. By 1939 the book had sold 5.2 million copies in 11 languages. By the end of the war, about 10 million copies of the book had been sold or distributed in Germany.
During the spring of 1933, Nazi student organizations, professors, and librarians made up long lists of books they thought should not be read by Germans. Then, on the night of May 10, 1933, Nazis raided libraries and bookstores across Germany. They marched by torchlight in nighttime parades, sang chants, and threw books into huge bonfires. On that night, more than 25,000 books were burned. Some were works of Jewish writers, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Most of the books were by non-Jewish writers, including such famous Americans as Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, and Sinclair Lewis, whose ideas the Nazis viewed as different from their own and therefore not to be read.
The Nazi censors also burned the books of Helen Keller, who had overcome her deafness and blindness to become a respected writer; told of the book burnings, she responded: “Tyranny cannot defeat the power of ideas.” Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States protested the book burnings, a clear violation of freedom of speech, in public rallies in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis.”
The German poet, Heinrich Heine said: “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”
Hitler used his Manifesto in order to engage the Germans to his devil plan, later on he took over the German publishing industry and censor it’ despite all demonstrations. He also end up burning millions of human beings…
Hitler’s book will be re-published during 2016, in Germany by the Institute of Contemporary History. The first time publication has been permitted in Germany 70 years after its first published since copyright was taken from the Nazi movement into the ownership of the Bavarian regional government in 1946. The new publishers promised It will not appear in its original form but will be heavily annotated to expose the “lies, half-truths and vicious tirades”.
Dabiq (Arabic: دابق) is the title of the monthly online magazine used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS/IS) for propaganda and recruitment of jihadists from the West. It was first published in July 2014 in English and other European languages. It is considered by professionals, to a sophisticated, slick, beautifully produced and printed.
‘Dabiq’ as it is called, bills itself as “a periodical magazine focusing on the issues oftawhid (unity), manhaj (truth-seeking), hijrah (migration), jihad (holy war) and jama’ah(community). It will also contain photo reports, current events, and informative articles on matters relating to the Islamic State.” Explained in The Clarion project that monitor the magazine.
It portrays the Islamic State as they see themselves: boasting of their victories and painting a romantic image of the restoration of an Islamic golden age and the heralding of a “glorious” new caliphate based on holy war.
Harleen K. Gambhir from the institute for the study of war claim that its content carefully builds off a basic set of Islamic religious concepts. As such, it is likely that the magazine aims to communicate both to enemies and to potential ISIS supporters in the Western world. The target audience and farther-reaching, laying out the religious underpinning of the Caliphate and encouraging all believing Muslims to support ISIS and emigrate from their homes to the Islamic State. Dabiq demonstrates that ISIS is looking not only to nearby areas for support, but is undertaking a global outreach strategy to recruit immigrants to build its state. ISIS has dedicated significant resources to this effort, as seen in the extensive campaign by ISIS supporters to distribute the publication online, and to launch an international publicity and persuasion tool while ISIS attacks continue.”
‘Dabiq’ magazines were being sold in paperback form on Amazon sites in the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. It distributed on Tweeter, Newsletters and can be downloaded for free over there.
Likewise ISIS, Al-Qaeda uses magazine “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”, in order to inspire focuses on encouraging its readers to carry out lone-wolf attacks on the West.
We don’t have statistics about ISIS magazine reading popularity, but we see a change in the behavior of the young immigrants in Europe in 2014, when the magazine first distributed and especially 2015. Of course, ISIS propaganda is wider then this magazine but it’s another important indication to the influence writing can be over people. If young people do not read literature, It’s easy to influence them with propaganda.
The young people reading habits can change if we will create a reading emergency plan especially among young Muslims immigrants and distribute human rights literature as an answer for ‘Dabits’ and other terror organizations magazines popularity. It will also establish the anti-terror virtual country as an answer to the growth of the Islamic state.
Human Rights Literature
Human rights literature is a literary genre that exposes human rights issues, and thus – directly or indirectly – promotes values of human rights. The goal of human rights literature is to combine the literary driving force with the motivation for action, which is a fundamental and integral element of the struggle for protection, of human rights. This literary genre is based on the concept of “Engaged Literature” that was articulated by the French writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
Human rights literature is committed to society and believes that each one of us has moral duty and power to make a social change. It is based on the belief of the enormous power of literature to make a change and in the responsibility of the author toward readers both on the social aspect and the artistic one.
Literature influence us very opposite from new media, it encourages us to think, to be critic to confront our beliefs and even morality.
Human Rights literature plant seeds of human rights values in us – offer us a way to be heard or to be expressed and a way to choose a positive path instead of negative one (as to conduct a horrible crime such murder). It must be very accessible to the young generation as ISIS propaganda. It should reach them directly and show them they are worth more than we lead them to think, it need to convince them to find life worth living for and not dying for and help them to reach to new reality that is not in a promised heaven but here on earth. Human rights literature should act as a bridge for tolerance, equality and understanding and place democracy and human rights watchdog in the front line before anti-terror laws and security. It will send away fears and irrational negative reactions and bring back the positive, lightning side of the world.
These young people supporting ISIS are very easy to engage with propaganda, short messages, and video clips. These messages spread like wildfire in Social media engaging thousands across Europe and other areas of the world to ISIS and other terror organizations. Literature can prevent this!
We must reach out to this young generation and offer them again words and not only emoji’s. Literature that is not restrict to 140 characters, literature that enable us to imagine a better world, a different life, to feel high level of empathy to others, to be heard, to speak up about our needs, feelings and problems, to release justify anger, to light problems in our society, to be critic toward our country, to act in a nonviolent way, to change, what need to be changed.
This is the purpose of literature! When literature becomes irrelevant – we lose not only our imagination but our democracy as well. Human Rights literature uses digital platforms and social media, so it offers a harmonic solution to the weakness of new media that is now in the use of terror organizations. We must take control over It with the understanding that if we will not act today – the future will be even worse than we can imagine!